Director: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash // Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures // Release Date: August 28th // Starring: Liam Jones, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Alison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet and Maya Rudolph // Plot: Depressed at the thought of staying with his mother and her arrogant boyfriend at the latter’s summer beach house, taciturn teen Duncan (Jones) finds reprieve in his bond with Owen , the sarcastic but nurturing manager of the Water Wizz water park.
Review: Why Nat Faxon and Jim Rash leave it to sixteen-year old Liam Jones to find substance in their directorial debut is a mystery, especially with the likes of Steve Carrell, Toni Collette and Allison Janney on the payroll.
To say that The Killing star comes up short is not to denounce his ability. His turn as despondent teen Duncan occasionally hits the right notes, particularly in a stilted ‘heart to heart’ with his mother’s snide boyfriend Trent (Carrell), who asks his potential stepson to rate himself out of ten. When met with a hopeful answer, Trent cruelly negates it. Jones matches Carrell’s almost overwhelmingly smug air with a squirming delivery that brilliantly conveys the awkwardness of adolescence. In a car with only Trent, his prickly daughter Steph, and Duncan’s sleeping mother Pam (Collette) for company, his performance appears stark and understated. With the arrival of Janney’s vivacious Betty – a one-woman Neighbourhood Watch who ambushes this makeshift clan the second they arrive at their summer beach house – Jones seems borderline catatonic.
Director: Leslye Headland // Distributor: Creative Arts Agency // Release Date: August 16th // Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fischer, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Kyle Bornheimer and Rebel Wilson.
Review: The sooner you accept that some people are just plain nasty, the better. Such an epiphany is key to enjoying Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette, a comedy fronted by Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fischer at their most caustic. Somewhere within Headland’s script is a tale of friends left scarred by their rocky formative years. The primary concern, however, is to spin a lean, cocaine-fuelled yarn, with plenty of snide quips and romantic revelations along the way.
Dunst is Regan, a tightly-wound viper in designer gear who must look on as her pleasantly plump chum Becky (Rebel Wilson) is the first of her high school clique to get married. Punctual and pedantic, she has been entrusted with pulling together every facet of Becky’s wedding to the handsome Dale (Hayes MacArthur), while the remaining B-Faces – coarse cynic Gena (Caplan) and dizzy, free-wheeling nymph Katie (Fischer) – tread on some serious eggshells the night before the big day. With the bachelorette party coming to an abrupt end, Regan, Gena and Katie decide to drink some champagne, take some coke and tear Becky’s dress in half while trying to prove that two people can fit in it. And so begins their late night dash around New York city, their trek running parallel with the groom’s bachelor party, led by the obnoxious but sexy Trevor (James Marsden).
The appeal of Norwegian singer/songwriter Anne Lilia Berge Strand is hard to explain to friends. With no in-yer-face talent to speak of – her famously weak voice has arguably been her biggest obstacle – one could wax on about her songwriting. Through her previous work with Richard X, as well as Girls Aloud puppeteers Xenomania, her songs share an enjoyably irreverent quality, usually complemented by either a melancholic, euphoric or ominous twist.
Trouble is, listeners tend to blur all sidelined female pioneers of quirky pop into one, with Girls Aloud coming out on top as the most recognisable and vocally distinctive. Why bother with a seemingly meek entity with bat-shit lyrics and the timbre of an air-conditioner when Nadine Coyle is waiting in the wings with her untouchable voice and unintelligible accent?